Yes, even in a good, long term relationship, a betrayal sometimes happens, and it causes a lot of pain. But with wisdom and compassion, which we learn from our school, we can much minimize the pain. At an advanced level of our development, we may even change this problem of betrayal into an opportunity for development!
My own experience may serve as a useful lesson. You can read the details from my autobiography, “The Way of the Master.”
About 30 years ago in the 1980s I was bitterly betrayed by a chi kung master and some senior students of Shaolin Wahnam Association. I helped the chi kung master in some difficult situations, and offered him a post as a chi kung healer in a company I set up with two other partners. Yet, he betrayed me – bitterly.
I taught senior disciples of Shaolin Wahnam Association secrets that most masters would keep as top secrets. One of the senior disciples told me, after just a few months of training, that his assistant instructor was very surprised when he countered a seemingly formidable attack. Another senior disciple, whom I gave money to in his difficulty, became famous for lion dance, and he performed a spectacular lion dance just one week after an appendicitis operation. I helped another senior disciple to become a kungfu and lion dance instructor in another school, and shared with him some highly paid remunerations in teaching kungfu and lion dance in another school.
Yet, they all betrayed me. I transformed from a highly respected master to a bad guy in town, especially when I supported a world known master, Sifu Yan Xing of China, in distant chi transmission.
But I forgave all of them. I changed their betrayals to opportunities for improvement. These senior disciples were the push factors for my travels overseas and subsequently established Shaolin Wahnam Institute. Chi flow, a hallmark of our school, was much influenced by the chi kung master who betrayed me.
I forgave all of them and wished them well. One of the betrayers, who is not one of the three senior disciples mentioned above, but whom I specially taught Choe Family Wing Choon Kungfu when he requested it, would have died if not for my chi kung healing – at a time when his betrayal was still fresh.
There was an interesting episode. A few years ago, students of former Shaolin Wahnam Association organized a dinner in my honour. As I entered the door for the dinner, an elderly, cheerful man came out to greet me. He looked familiar but I could not remember him. Later, another disciple told me that the elderly, cheerful man was the one who betrayed me, the one whom I saved with chi kung healing. He renounced the world and dedicated himself to spiritual cultivation. I was glad that he was happy. 30 years ago when he was my student, he hardly smiled.
Whether it is wise to keep a relationship despite a betrayal for the sake of their children, depends on numerous factors, some of which are the life philosophy of the victim, how serious was the betrayal, and the age and understanding of the children.
Suppose a wife had sexual affairs with another man, and the husband found it out, the husband may forgive his wife if he loves her dearly and the wife stops the affairs. After all, in modern societies there is no guarantee that a man or a woman does not have prior sex before marriage. If the husband has a poor philosophy of life and dislikes her, it is a valid reason, or an excuse, to divorce her, irrespective of whether they have children.
If the husband is sexually inadequate but loves his wife dearly, and the other man is good, it is wise to keep the relationship, not only for the sake of their children, but also for the pleasure of his wife and the other man, as well as his own happiness despite his inadequacy. If they have no children, or if the children are big and understanding, he can divorce his wife after making sure the other man will marry her.
If their children are small and the husband is sexually capable, but the wife finds it more pleasurable to have sex with another man, it is wise to pretend not to know although he knows of his wife extra-marital affairs. He can have sex with his wife whenever he can, or have sex with other women when his sexual urge is demanding.
Such wisdom is rare. Most husbands will quarrel with their wives, and everyone involved suffers.
1989 was a very important year that I proved distant chi transmission was real. But the most important event of the year was the birth of my youngest child, Wong Chun Yian (黄俊贤), who brought love and happiness to the family. “Chun Yian” means “Handsome and Wise”.
I honestly believe that my youngest daughter, Wong Siew Foong born in 1987, and my youngest son, Wong Chun Yian, born in 1989, were our children sent to my wife and me from the Divine for the good deeds we had done. They brought to our family, including my parents and my three elder children, a lot of joy and love.
We did not hope for any rewards when we were blessed to perform some good deeds, but it is a universal truth that goodness always brings goodness. I dearly remember my mother telling me once that it is a greater blessing to give than to receive. Indeed, we are very blessed.
When my wife was carrying Chun Yian, she was a bit apprehensive because she was already over forty years of age. It was said that women giving birth after forty may result in children who were not so intelligent. But Chun Yian, I believe, is a divine-sent child, and he was, and still is, very intelligent.
When my wife and I took our two youngest children for car rides, which we often did, and our other three elder children were at an age when they would prefer to spend time with their friends, Chun Yian would compose songs of his own which he would sing to entertain us.
One of the songs he often sang was as follows:
Grilled chicken wings, grilled chicken wings We shall have something to eat Get two or three cups of fragrant wine To go along with the feast
Sometimes, he would compose words for our private use. For example, instead of saying, “Please pass me some tissue paper to wipe my hands”, he would say, “Please pass me some ti-boys”.
“Why do you call tissue paper ti-boys?” Once I asked him.
“Ti is a short form for tissue. As the tissue paper is small, I call it ti-boy,” he explained.
We certainly had a lot of fun.
I attributed his high intelligence to his practice of chi kung, but he attributed it to his secretion of “brain-juice” by sleeping before ten o’clock every night.
So, while other parents might have difficulty coaxing their children to go to bed early, my wife and I did not have this problem with Chun Yian.
In fact, on occasions when we were out late at night, by Chun Yian’s standard, he would say, “Papa, can we go back early? I want to produce brain-juice.”
Siew Foong, my wife, Chun Yian and me at Chun Yian’s graduation
The year 1987 was very special for me and my wife. That was the year my youngest daughter, Wong Siew Foong (黄小凤) was born. My wife often said Siew Foong was a harbinger of good luck. Since her birth everything was propitious.
One indication of good times to come was the appearance of pigeons in the compound of my house. One morning, after my daily kungfu practice, I was surprised to find many pigeons flocking to my house. The pigeons had been coming, but that particular morning, there were many. They made a lot of noise and were obviously having a good time, though neither my wife nor I, unprepared for their arrival, bought any grains to feed them.
I was surprised not at the pigeons, or their number, or the noise they made, but at why they came to my house. According to Chinese beliefs, pigeons only go to houses of rich people. Although my financial position had improved, I did not consider myself rich, i.e. financially rich, though I was actually very rich in other aspects, like good health, happy family and appreciative students both in the school I taught as a school teacher and in my kungfu and chi kung classes.
Nevertheless, my financial position continued to improve. I did not know, neither was I concerned, whether it was due to my improving financial position that pigeons came to my house, or the other way round, due to pigeons coming to my house that my financial position improved. But I found it poetical to believe that because of Siew Foong’s arrival, both my financial position improved and pigeons, symbols of love and peace, came to my house.
With our improved financial position, both my wife and I could help other less fortunate people, like my wife buying meals for poor children in school, and I giving money to people in need.
Indeed, it was just the other day at the time of writing, that Swee Zhi, the girlfriend of my youngest son, Chun Yian, told us she was so pleasantly surprised when she and Chun Yian caught up with Chun Yian’s friends during the Chinese New Year festive session, that one of Chun Yian’s friends, who is now a lawyer, told her that he knew my wife.
“How did you know auntie?” Swee Zhi asked.
“Not only I know her, I am very grateful to her.”
“Did you meet her before?”
“Yes, every day during my primary school days. She bought meals for us during school recess.”
My youngest daughter, Siew Foong, was very attached to me. Initially, whenever I went overseas to teach chi kung and kungfu, she would be sick. At first, I was not aware of the relationship between her sickness and me going overseas, but my wife, with her motherly instinct, discovered that her sickness was due to her thinking of me when I was not at home.
So, following my wife’s discovery, when I was about to fly overseas, I would console my youngest daughter, telling her that I would soon be home again and asking her not to be sick. It worked very well. Since then, she was not sick when I went overseas.
Whenever I was at home, I would spend a lot of time playing with her and her younger brother, Chun Yian, who arrived two years later. They would run into my arms, and I would swing them overhead, sometimes with them somersaulting in the air, but with me holding them carefully. My wife would be concerned.
“Be very careful not to let them fall,” my wife would call out with some apprehension.
“They are perfectly safe,” I would reply.
My youngest daughter and youngest son, Siew Foong and Chun Yian, were specially close, especially when my other three children were much older than them, and therefore may have different likings. Nevertheless, all the five brothers and sisters were close and loving to one another.
Myself and Siew Foong at the China Town in Terengganu
While I was teaching as a school teacher in Alor Setar, my wife and second daughter stayed with me. My eldest daughter stayed with my parents in Penang, which was only about 125 kilometres away and which I considered my hometown, where we returned every weekend. As a teacher’s salary was poor, I could afford to buy a used car only after working for about ten years, which both my daughters obviously enjoyed travelling in, often counting other vehicles as they passed us by. Before this, we travelled by public buses.
More important than a car was the arrival of my son, Wong Chun Nga (黄俊雅), who was born in 1979. The name “Chun Nga”, also suggested by my wife, means “Handsome and Elegant”, which describes him very well.
Chun Nga was eager to come out to see the world. My wife bore him for only seven months, instead of the usual nine months. So he was very tiny when he was born. According to Chinese belief, a seven-month child, poetically described as a seven-star child, is supposed to be very intelligent.
Despite being tiny when he was a baby, Chun Nga had a lot of internal force. He learned it the hard way, not directly from me but from my senior students even before our present worldwide Shaolin Wahnam Institute was established. After I had resigned from Shaolin Wahnam Association which I had founded earlier, the story of which will be described later, some senior students came to my house to continue their Shaolin training.
My wife told me that Chun Nga would wait at the gate of our house, and when Goh Kok Hin, who owned a small sundry shop which has now grown into a mini supermarket in Kota Kuala Muda, a small town about 25 kilometres from Sungai Petani, arrived he would give a packet of sweets to Chun Nga.
Chun Nga did not just enjoy eating the sweets; he observed our training. Later, he was helped by Cheng Cheong Shou, another senior student, who was a chi kung instructor helping me to spread the benefits of chi kung to the public. At the age of eleven, Chun Nga could break a brick. It was a remarkable demonstration of internal force as a child of eleven could not have the physical strength to break one.
Chun Nga’s internal force opened some psychic centres in his head. He could see through a person’s body. I was quite surprised when one evening he told me he saw two bones inside the forearm of a chi kung student who came to me for some consultation. I did not expect an eleven-year-old child to know of the radius and the ulna of the forearm. Most children would think there was only one forearm bone.
On another occasion when Wong Yin Tat, another senior student who had Iron Shirt, consulted me for some internal injury sustained when he tensed as I struck him on one shoulder to let chi pass to the other shoulder, Chun Nga could see a black mass of blocked chi in his chest. When I channelled chi to heal Yin Tat, Chun Nga could see golden chi transmitted from my sword-fingers disperse the black mass of blocked chi.
I had an experience of Chun Nga’s internal force much later. During an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Sungai Petani, I demonstrated a felling technique to the course participants on Chun Nga, but was surprised that he was stable and solid. I could fell any able-bodied adult quite effortlessly, but in this case, though eventually I fell Chun Nga, I had to use some special techniques.
Many of our senior instructors in Shaolin Wahnam Institute today were first trained by Chun Nga. When they attended my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, I asked Chun Nga to familiarise them with basic Shaolin stances. I did not know Chun Nga was hard on them until a few told me, not complaining but commenting that the course was indeed tough, that Chun Nga had them in their Horse-Riding Stance for an hour! No wonder they have very good internal force now.
A recent photograph of Sifu Wong and his wife holidaying in England
Sifu, I believe that you are one of the wisest and most compassionate men alive today, and I place great value and worth on your thoughts and opinions. I have been married for almost one year now and my wife and I have just had our first child, a boy. What advice can you give me to be a good husband and father?
— Kevin, USA
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Congratulations for being a husband and father, and thank you for your kind words.
Being a husband and father is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to a man. So treasure your blessing. With the blessing comes responsibility. The most basic responsibility of a good husband and father is to provide for your family to the best of your ability. Provisions involve not just physical wants and comfort, like decent food and housing, but more importantly spiritual needs, like loving care and spending time with them rewardingly.
Providing for their spiritual needs does not need money, but it needs time and effort. If one really treasures his wife and child, he can readily find the time and effort, irrespective of how busy he may imagine himself to be or even really be.
If you treat your wife not as someone who happens to marry you, but someone who is going to spend the best part of her life for your welfare, which is actually the case, and treat your son not just as an incidental outcome of some pleasure, but as a living manifestation of your love and joy, which is also actually the case, you will find spending time with them not a responsibility but a special privilege.
Marriage is sacred. Personally I believe a man should have one and only one wife. You have chosen your wife. So you just have to make sure your marriage can only be successful. You have no other choice, and there is no looking back. Be generous in your attitude. Assume the position that you, and not your wife, are the one to take the initiative to ensure a successful, happy marriage. When you have set the right initiative, your wife will naturally respond.
I also wish to raise my son in the spirit of Shaolin, in a Zen environment. How should I go about this? At what age do I introduce Shaolin and Zen principles to him? And what age can he begin to practice Shaolin Kung Fu and Chi Kung?
Yours is a good choice, one of the best a father can do for his son. There are many ways to realize your intention. In the past, the ideal way was to send him to the Shaolin Monastery as a lay disciple, but this is not applicable today because traditional Shaolin arts are no longer taught there.
An excellent alternative is to send your son to a real Shaolin master. Another alternative is to train under a real Shaolin master yourself, and later teach your son the way the master taught you.
These ways, while possible, are not easy. In the past to be accepted into the Shaolin Monastery was extremely difficult. Today to find a real Shaolin master willing to teach you or your son is equally difficult.
In theory you can introduce Shaolin and Zen principles to your son, and he can begin practising Shaolin Kungfu and Chi Kung at any age. For example, when your son is a baby you can frequently recite Shaolin principles to him, letting his subconscious mind absorb the teaching.
And you can soak him in medicated water and then methodically strike him so that he will grow up with “copper skin and iron bones”, like what the female Shaolin master Miew Chooi Fa did to her famous son Fong Sai Yoke.
But in practice, it is advisable to let your son grow to about twelve years old before you let him practise Shaolin Kungfu and Chi Kung, and about twenty five before you formally introduce him to Shaolin and Zen principles. But informally you can let him begin earlier — as soon as he can run or can comprehend intelligently. For example you can let him perform in a fun-ful way “Lifting the Sky”, and impress upon him that if he wants any worthy result he has to put in time and effort.
My wife also would like to lose some weight that she gained during the pregnancy. Can she practice Drawing the Moon, Lifting the Sky, Separating Water, and Circular Chi Flow? She is breastfeeding. Will these exercises affect that at all?
“Drawing the Moon” is an excellent exercise for loosing excess weight, especially when the excess is around the waist.
After giving birth to our first child, my wife, who was slender before, took the shape of a barrel, the result of having a lot of nourishing food during confinement. She performed “Drawing the Moon” every morning and night, and regained her slender figure within six months.
After about 30 years of happy marriage and having given me 5 lovely children, she actually has a more attractive figure now than when I first met her. She does not do any aerobics, go on diet or follow any of the many slimming programmes on the market; she only practises the same three basic chi kung exercises I have been teaching for years to beginning students — “Lifting the Sky”, “Pushing Mountains” and “Carrying the Moon”. Besides having an attractive figure, my wife also has sparkling eyes and rosy complexion.
If your wife practises “Lifting the Sky”, “Separating Water”, and Circular Chi Flow correctly, these exercises will enhance her breast-feeding function as well as make her fit and healthy.
Mrs Wong Kiew Kit (right) and four of her five children in Beijing during their China visit with Sifu Wong in May 2000.